tv CBS Morning News CBS March 15, 2011 4:00am-4:30am PDT
japan in crisis. high levels of radiation are escaping from a crippled nuclear power plant following another explosion and fire. japanese officials say the radiation is high enough to make humans sick. they're desperately pumping sea water into the reactors in a last ditch effort to overt disaster. meanwhile the scope of the devastation becomes more apparent as the death toll rises. this is the "cbs morning news" rises. this is the "cbs morning news" for tuesday, march 15th, 2011. captioning funded by cbs good morning and thanks for joining us. i'm betty nguyen. this morning the nuclear crisis triggered by last friday's massive earthquake is quickly getting worse. this morning there was an
explosion at a third reactor at the fukushima daiichi power plant. it came after a fourth unit caught fire. that fire was extinguished. the levels were, quote, very high and now poses a threat to human health and there is a high risk that more radiation will escape. residents within 19 miles of the plant have been told to stay indoors. high than normal radiation levels have been detected in tokyo which is about 150 miles to the south. the official death toll from the quake and the tsunami has topped 2400, but entire towns have vanished and it is estimated more than 10,000 perished. charlie d'agata is in oyama with more. what is the latest there? >> reporter: good morning. well, this is the road that leads from tokyo to the stricken nuclear power plants and as you can see, there has been a steady
flow of traffic and right now the critical question is how concentrated is that leak, whether it will get worse over the next few days and where it may be headed. dangerous levels of radiation are now leaking from this nuclear power plant following a third explosion. the level seems very high, japan's prime minister warned, and there's still a very high risk of more radiation coming out. the blast damaged the containment structure of a reactor, a fourth reactor also caught fire. tens of thousands of nearby residents have already been evacuated. those still living within a 20 mile radius are being urged to stay indoors, avoid drinking tap water, keep their houses air tight. japan's nuclear crisis began to unfold after last friday's earthquake and tsunami damaged the plant. officials have been scrambling
to avoid a meltdown ever since and are now asking the u.s. for help. >> in particular they have asked for additional types of equipment that will help provide water and other types of resources to ensure that the reactors continue to be cooled. >> reporter: fears of a full blown meltdown have spread all the way to tokyo located 150 miles from the plant. officials there have detected low levels of radiation and a shift in winds threatens to push it even further. even without a possible nuclear disaster, japan is facing its worst crisis since world war ii. death toll jumped to more than 2400 confirmed dead, but officials warn that number is likely to top 10,000. and now the country faces an economic crisis, as well. this morning japanese stocks plummeted more than 10%. as far as that radiation cloud, as i said, they have picked up low levels of radiation outside of tokyo, but there is another concern whether it intensifies and the wind shifts, it could head toward that area that was hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami that followed. >> as we hear about these
radiation levels rising, what is the government doing to help residents most at risk? >> reporter: around the region of that nuclear power plant, they've evacuated a 30 kilometer, 20 mile radius around there. 180,000 residents have left and they're giving people around that area potassium iodide which will help prevent or lower the risk of thyroid cancer which is the most immediate risk of the radiation leak. >> what's the general opinion of the government's response so far? what are you hearing? >> reporter: it depends really on which part of this challenge you're addressing. when it comes to the humanitarian effort and trying to reach the people hit by the earthquake and tsunami, i think they've been satisfied. 100,000 soldiers out there trying to help this great humanitarian effort. but when it comes to the radiation leak, there certainly
is scepticism that the government wasn't as forthcoming with the information as they may have been and now they may be facing a much bigger disaster than they once led on. >> all right, we will continue to follow this. charlie d'agata in oyama, thanks for joining us. the nuclear crisis in japan is the worst since a nuclear power plant exploded in chernobyl back in 1986. the chernobyl explosion ruptured the reactor vessel sending radioactive material over a wide area. over 300,000 people had to be resettled. yesterday, the director general of the international atomic energy commission said it is very unlikely that the japan crisis would turn into a chernobyl event and the head of the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission said it is unlikely that radiation from japan will reach the u.s. >> based on the type of reactor design and nature of the accident, we see a very low likelihood of -- really a very low probability that there is any possibility of harmful
radiation levels in the united states. >> he also said nuclear plants in the u.s. are designed to withstand earthquakes and tsunamis. the magnitude of the destruction in japan is slowly becoming apparent. miyagi, a coastal province near the epicenter, is one of the hardest hit areas. officials estimate 10,000 people were killed in miyagi alone. towns along the coast were obliterated by a 30 foot wave that went miles inland. many bodies were washed out to sea and likely will never be recovered. the quake and tsunami essentially wiped off some towns from the map. natori, once home to over 70,000 people, a thriving farming town, now it no longer exists. ben tracy is there. >> reporter: more than three days after the earthquake hit and tsunami roared through natori, the homes are still smoldering, and this is all left
of this town once home to farmers. now it's basically deserted. emergency vehicles are the only traffic on the roads and this man is one of the only people left in town. everyone else is gone because so are their homes. this used to be a neighborhood. now it is simply a debris field. >> reporter: these were houses. now they're all gone. >> nothing. >> reporter: our driver used to take this street when he drove his people to the beach. he can't believe what's happened. >> we cannot run away, escape. >> reporter: the wave erased natori off the map. hundreds missing, many feared dead. the military is searching the rubble for those swept away. just down the road here in natori, these soldiers got word a little while ago that a body was somewhere here in the wreckage, one of the missing people. as you can see, they've found that person and they're now going to take that person to the city's morgue. very sad. >> yes, very sad.
>> reporter: he says he believes the city can rebuild even if it means starting from the ground up. ben tracy, cbs news, natori, japan. on "moneywatch," the economic impact of the quake has yet to be calculated and there are new fears problems in japan could seriously threaten the global economic recovery. ashley morrison is here in new york with the latest on that. >> reporter: along with the humanitarian catastrophe and possible nuclear disaster, japan is also dealing with an economic crisis. it's showing little signs of easing and could have a serious impact on the economy here at home. fears of a full blown nuclear disaster sent stocks on another nose dive today in tokyo. japan's nikkei index lost more than 10.5% after dropping 6% monday. other asian markets also tumbled. japan tried to ease fears by pumping another $98 billion into the nation's banking system
today, but investors dumped shares across the board. those same fears hit wall street monday. the dow lost 51 points to fall below 12,000. the nasdaq lost 14. while uncertainty always keeps stocks on edge, analysts say a nuclear disaster would have devastating consequences for the global economy. >> markets would crash throughout the world because of the impact that has, because of radiation escaping into the atmosphere, into the food systems. it's horrible to even think about. >> reporter: we're only beginning to see the economic impact. the region where the quake struck hardest has a huge manufacturing footprint. toyota, nissan, sony and other companies have been forced to suspend production in the wake of the disaster. a short term delay in production would have little effect but anything longer could affect american companies with close ties to the region. >> there's a lot of materials that come from japan and go to japan. apple for example has a huge market in japan for its products.
>> reporter: even before the quake, japan's economy had major issues. its growth has really slowed over the past two decades and they have massive debt problems. just this year, china passed it to become the world's number two economy. >> all right, ashley, thank you for that. joining us live here in new york. we'll be right back. this is the "cbs morning news." >> narrator: "moneywatch" sponsored by vagisil. introducing vagisil wash with odor block. the confident clean. vagisilp introducing wash with odor block. the confident clean.
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your doctor should test you for tuberculosis. ask your doctor if you live or have lived in an area where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if, while on enbrel, you experience persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. and help bridge the gap between the life you live... and the life you want to live. the u.s. geological survey has raised the magnitude of friday's quake to 9.0, one of the largest ever recorded. americans caught in the quake are making their way home. dennis mccaskill had been working in japan for two months and had felt smaller quakes before, but knew this one was different. >> this one time, i was laying in bed and it started and i just laid there and thought here we go again.
well, it just intensified and intensified until everything started to fall and that's when i jumped up and realized it's like trying to walk through a bowl of jelly to walk and get out. >> the state department has advised americans not to travel to japan at this time. fears about health risks are rising dramatically in japan. high levels of radiation have prompted renewed warnings for residents within 19 miles of the damaged nuclear power plants to stay indoors. manuel gallegus reports on the danger. >> reporter: when it comes to radiation exposure, scientists say there is a simple rule. no amount of exposure is safe. >> radiation is very good at damaging dna which is the basic genetics of how cells divide in our body. >> reporter: and that damage can lead to cancer which radiation expert dr. brenner says is the biggest concern. >> the bigger the dose, the bigger the risk. the smaller the dose, the smaller the risk. and it doesn't happen overnight. typically 10, 15, 20, 30 years
after the exposure is when a cancer might appear. >> reporter: we're all exposed to low levels of radiation every day. it occurs naturally in the air, soil and water. we get it when we fly or have an x-ray. and all that radiation is cumulative. it adds up in our bodies over time. but researchers do not know if those low levels can actually make us sick. >> that's no question that radiation produces cancer. there are certainly still debates going on that very low doses of radiation, do they produce cancer or not. >> reporter: dr. brenner says so far the radiation released in japan is nowhere near the level of the nuclear disaster at chernobyl almost 25 years ago. as for our risk of exposure, the head of the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission says it is very unlikely that we will feel any harmful effects here in the united states. manuel gallegus, cbs news, new york. we'll be right back with a check of the weather. this is the "cbs morning news." york.
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here's a look at the weather in some cities around the country. new york is going to be sunny, 50 degrees. miami, sunny, 80. chicago, mostly cloudy there, 44. dallas, partly cloudy, 70 degrees. and l.a., a sunny 75. time now for a check of the national forecast. the latest satellite picture shows storm clouds swirling across the gulf coast while the northern plains sees scattered showers. later today another round of
soaking rain and wet snow heads into the northwest. and a powerful storm with heavy downpours is on the move east from the mississippi river valley. the house of representatives is expected to vote today in the continuing battle over the budget. the bill would cut $6 billion in spending and keep the government running until april 8th. lawmakers are facing a friday deadline for the federal government to shut down. general david petraeus, the top american commander in afghanistan, will give congress an update on the war today. on monday, he met with president obama and defense secretary robert gates. the general is expected to tell lawmakers that he believes u.s. forces can begin to withdraw this summer as planned. u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton is headed for the middle east. clinton met with foreign ministers from the g-8 countries in paris on monday. france and britain have been pushing for a no fly zone over libya. next she arrives in cairo, the highest ranking u.s. official to visit egypt since the fall of mubarak.
and the rock and roll hall of fame welcomed its newest members last night. alice cooper performed with fake blood on his shirt during the dinner. neil diamond walked through the audience singing sweet caroline. darlene love got help from bruce springsteen. and tom waits was in the spotlight as the 2011 inductee. just ahead, the nuclear meltdown in japan. could it happen here? a look at the safety of america's nuclear power plants in the quake zone.
radiation spreads from a nuclear power plant.. crippled by the tsunami and earthquake. new information this morning about the crisis that's quickly getting worse. here in the bay area: five people shot at a bar overnight. where the gunfire erupted. and today's the deadline to pass out pink slips to teachers. the protests planned in the bay area.
join us for cbs 5 early edition ... beginning at 4:30. ,, on the "cbs morning news," here's a look at today's weather. thunderstorms are expected in the southeast. some of which could be severe. rain showers starting to fall in in the north and soggy conditions will continue in the northwest while the southwest stays sunny and dry.
with the ongoing crisis in japan, just how safe are the 104 nuclear power plants right here in the u.s.? especially the two built on fault lines on the west coast. john blackstone reports. >> reporter: avila beach is a laid back resort town on the central california coast that for more than 50 years has lived next door to a giant diablo canyon nuclear power plant. it's been operating here in earthquake country since 1985 without any major problems. >> until they find better sources for our power, we're going to have to live with it. >> reporter: but the seeds of damaged nuclear facilities in japan are giving some here second thoughts. >> it's kind of like you want to get out of here a little sooner. >> reporter: it's within 60 miles of the san andreas fault and much closer to at least three smaller faults. one of them the shore line is
less than a mile away and was discovered just three years ago. pacific gas and electric says it was built to withstand a 7.5 earthquake and none of the faults in the region is expected to produce anything bigger. but the japanese also assumed their nuclear plants would hold up. says victor galinski, a former member of the nuclear regulatory commission. >> it does tell you that your assumptions about safety may be wrong and we really need to take a look at our systems and make sure that our assumptions are still valid. >> reporter: california isn't the only part of the country that have earthquakes. what geologists call seismic hot spots are scattered across the country. there are 104 commercial reactors in the u.s. including those operating in earthquake zones. and though diablo canyon sits right on the coast, geologists say a tsunami as big as the one that hit japan is unlikely here.
john blackstone, avila beach, california. >> this morning on "the early show," continuing coverage of the disaster in japan. i'm betty nguyen. this is the "cbs morning news." i can't let allergies stop me from the leading the way. so, i get claritin clear. non-drowsy claritin relieves my worst symptoms. and only claritin is proven to keep me as alert and focused as someone without allergies. whoa ! watch your step ! thanks ! live claritin clear. all you expect from the number-one recommended detergent by dermatologists. all free clear is free of dyes and perfumes.
here's the latest on the situation in japan where the nuclear disaster is getting worse. high levels of radiation, high enough to impact human health, are escaping from the crippled fukushima daiichi power plant. this morning there was an explosion at a third reactor and a fire at spent fuel storage areas. residents within 19 miles of the plant are being told to stay indoors. low levels of radiation are being detected all the way to tokyo. when the tsunami roared through northern japan, one picturesque town did not stand a chance. the 30 foot wave destroyed everything turning what was onces a thriving coastal village in to a ghost town. harry smith reports. >> reporter: with the force and fury that defy description, the
tsunami flattened will this town, once a picturesque fishing haven, there is little left that resembles its past. now there is only ruin. so you went down to look? the people we encountered heeded the warning, went to higher ground. they lost everything. we're stunned, this man says. it existed and then it didn't. more than half of this town's 20,000 residents are listed as missing or unaccounted for. they were here and now they are not. this man stands on a hill looking at the debris field. somewhere below was his small trucking business and somewhere below was his wife who ran the office. your wife is missing? he was away when the wave hit. now he says everything is gone. we're a good 30 feet off the valley floor. but because this valley is so narrow, the water just kept
going up and up and up because it didn't have that much of a place to go that way. so as a result, even back here, 40 and even 50 feet off the valley floor, there is still destruction. a full two miles from the water's edge, we found this man cleaning up the mess that reached even here. his family is okay, he tells us. he didn't know there was a tsunami until he heard it coming. and here on the top of this debris pile, a family album. school pictures, a father and son, brothers together, school mates. and you wonder whoever this belonged to whether or not they're still alive. there are rescue crews here, but their only mission, to recover the remains of the dead. this doesn't look like a natural disaster. it looks like war. harry smith, cbs news, japan. coming up later on "the
early show," a top nuclear expert discusses the escalating crisis in japan. also a look at the difficult process of getting aid to some of the hardest hit areas. and the parents of a missing teacher from virginia talk about the desperate search for their daughter. that's the "cbs morning news" for this tuesday. thanks for watching. i'm betty nguyen. thanks for watching. i'm betty nguyen. have a great day. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com